Home > Knowledge > Content
Puncturing Cans and Recycling
- Jul 06, 2018 -

Another option is to use an aerosol can puncturing device to completely empty aerosol cans of product, release all gaseous propellants, and eliminate the danger of can explosion due to heat and/or pressure. After puncturing, the generator must recycle the punctured can. A non-hazardous determination is not necessary for the punctured can due to the recycling exemption to the hazardous waste regulations (however, if a generator chooses to puncture, then they must recycle). Businesses may use DSWA recycling centers to recycle punctured cans. DNREC strongly encourages generators puncturing and recycling as opposed to disposing the cans as a hazardous waste.

A hazardous waste determination must be made on the drained liquid from the cans. If it can be shown that the liquid is non-hazardous, then the generator may dispose of the liquid as solid waste; however, otherwise the liquid must be disposed of as hazardous waste. See the section above on requirements for hazardous waste. Additionally, the can puncturing device contains a filter, which may also be considered hazardous waste.


Can puncturing is not considered a regulated treatment activity as long as the puncturing does not release any hazardous constituents into the environment and all contents are collected into a container. Most commercially available puncturing devices will meet these requirements. Additionally, to not be considered a regulated treatment activity, the punctured can must be recycled. An advantage to utilizing can puncturing is to greatly reduce a generator’s volume of hazardous waste generated. Instead of a generator collecting cans of hazardous waste, a generator would only need to collect the small amount of drained fluid from puncturing. In addition, recycling the cans and reducing the amount of hazardous waste generated is the more environmentally sound option.